bye bye 2021 by AJS

And they were singin’ bye-bye, Miss American Pie!

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head for a whole year?

We have. It’s been a little frustrating, we must admit. The same old words playing over and over in our minds. 

Could it mean something? We often thought to ourselves. 

American Pie by Don McLean. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Ok. Let’s start with the first chorus – 

“A long, long time ago

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile

And I knew if I had my chance that I could make those people dance

And maybe they’d be happy for a while

But February made me shiver

With every paper I’d deliver

Bad news on the doorstep

I couldn’t take one more step

I can’t remember if I cried

When I read about his widowed bride

But something touched me deep inside

The day the music died”.

It seems almost prophetic, now that we think about it 

Let’s be honest, 2021 has been a year that has been jam-packed full of ups and downs. And it started at the beginning of the year. February did indeed make us shiver. COVID cases were soaring, many of our own at AJS were infected. It seemed like no one was spared. Every day there was news of someone we knew that had succumbed. The situation was scary, dire, heart sore and filled with bad news. Uncertainty was running rampant amongst all of us.

It felt like the music had died in all of us. It felt like the light in all of us had been dimmed. And it felt like (for a lot of us), that it was hard to take one more step. 

See what we mean about being prophetic?

It seemed like a long, long time ago things were “normal” that we weren’t all plagued by “things out of our control”. It seemed like a long, long time ago we were all genuinely happy and genuinely optimistic about the future.  

We admit that this is not the most positive way to start an article. Doom and gloom and end of the “worldy” (we know – not a real word). 

But you see, despite our best efforts to Take Stock of 2021 (Part I, Part II , Part III and especially Part IV), it has been rather difficult to summarise 2021 without addressing the ‘elephant in the room”. To be honest, we would be remiss if we did not take note (at least in passing) of everything that has happened. Especially recently, before moving on.

We know that if we had one chance, we can make those people dance

To start off, we feel that it is important for our own wellbeing (at the very least) to change the tune in our own heads to something a little more upbeat, to something more encouraging –  

Roar by Katy Perry should suffice….

 “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter

Dancing through the fire

‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar

Louder, louder than a lion

‘Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar”

And with Katy’s song in mind, we feel almost compelled to focus on the “bright side” of the situation. To look towards 2022 with bright eyes and hopeful spirits, keeping in mind all the while that we are fighters, champions and from here on in, we are going to “Roar”. 

Because if 2021 has taught us anything, it is to fight

We are already on the fifth variant of COVID – can you believe that?

For your info – All variants have been named according to the Greek Alphabet – which WHO suggests will “strip some of the stigma from the emergence of new variants”.  There was the first variant identified in Britain known as Alpha, then there was the variant first spotted in South Africa known as Beta, the variant first detected in Brazil known as Gamma and the so-called Indian variant, known as Delta.

So we are not new to this.

We have been here before. 

Sure, we now have to contend with a new variant – Omicron, which (by the way) was first identified in Botswana but identified by scientists in South Africa. And yes, it is being transmitted at an alarming rate – “4.2 times more transmissible in its early stage than delta, according to a study by a Japanese scientist”.

But does that spell disaster and is it reason to freak out?

We don’t think so. And we are kind of backed up by some major league players here.

In an interview by Bruce Whitfield of Netcare CEO Dr Richard Friedland, the following was said – 

“Most patients present with mild to moderate symptoms of flu, and nothing much more… In the first three waves, people could hardly breathe… Every single patient required oxygen… many required ventilation… 90% of patients in hospital now don’t require oxygen at all…”

Fin24 is abuzz with news that stocks and U.S. futures rose along with Asian dollar bonds as optimism about vaccines eased concerns about the omicron variant – 

“Asian stocks opened higher on Tuesday as investors took heart from strong rebounds on Wall Street on hopes that the newest coronavirus variant will prove less dangerous than previously feared.

The Omicron variant has been detected across the globe but no deaths have yet been reported, with authorities worldwide racing to determine how contagious it is and how effective existing vaccines are.

Top US pandemic adviser Anthony Fauci said over the weekend that while more information was needed, preliminary data on the variant’s severity was “a bit encouraging””.

So if the stock markets (which are extremely volatile and often easily influenced by any bit of uncertainty) can be optimistic, why can’t we?

Bill Gates thinks ‘acute phase’ of Covid pandemic will be over in 2022, despite Omicron variant (as published on Business Insider) ,– 

Bill Gates is hopeful that the critical phase of the Covid-19 pandemic will end in 2022 –

“It might be foolish to make another prediction, but I think the acute phase of the pandemic will come to a close some time in 2022. 

And while “there’s no question that the Omicron variant is concerning, the speed of detecting new variants, combined with developments in vaccines and antiviral drugs, led him to be hopeful that Covid-19 would become an endemic disease in 2022.

The world is better prepared to tackle potentially bad variants than at any other point in the pandemic so far. We’re in a much better position to create updated vaccines if they’re needed.

Communities will still see occasional outbreaks, but new drugs will be available that could take care of most cases and hospitals will be able to handle the rest.

In a couple years, my hope is that the only time you will really have to think about the virus is when you get your joint Covid and flu vaccine every fall,” 

And sure, we acknowledge that Bill Gates is not the binding authority on everything factual. But he is Bill Gates after all. And his comments do hold some credence. 

Also, we agree with him. 

As we begin to bid this year adieu, let’s do so by remembering what we can take away from it 

Despite its obstacles, its hardships and its harrowing moments, 2021 has built in each of us something a little stronger. It has paved the way for us to become something a little more resilient. We have been able to transform ourselves into something new and exciting and by so doing, have achieved the unexpected. We have changed and we have improved on ourselves. 

All good things. 

So while we plan ahead for 2022, we must continue to motivate ourselves to overcome whatever is thrown at us (because again, we have been through this before and we now know that we can get through anything) by simply putting one foot in front of the other and getting things moving, getting things going and causing the momentum needed to ultimately result in positive returns for 2022. 

As our last excerpt for 2021 – in an article CEO Confidence Slipped Further in Q4, but CEOs Remain Optimistic Entering 2022 – 

“a strong majority remain optimistic about the prospects for growth, both within their own industry and for the economy as a whole. In the year ahead, fortune will continue to favor those companies and leaders able to nimbly navigate these new and resurgent challenges, putting into practice the hard-won lessons in resiliency that were learned over the past two years.”   

On that note, we urge you to remain nimble and be quick when adapting to new challenges. Remembering that fortune favours the bold – so be bold and take your next step

Don’t let the music die, don’t stop dancing, don’t stop singing, don’t stop believing in what you can do. Always keep fighting, knowing with a resolute mind, that you are undoubtedly a champion of your own success and your own fate. Remain hopeful. 

Remember your R&R!

Finally, as the year draws to a close, we hope that you will take some much needed time to rest and relax – whatever you may be doing (which we hope will not be work). 

We hope that you will disconnect and recharge your mind and your body, whilst reconnecting with family and friends (even if it is remotely). We hope that you will give yourself TLC, remembering the pointers we gave last year in our article Lawyers on Leave (which does of course remain very relevant and obviously deserves a re-read). 

And we hope that you will once again be genuinely happy (boasting genuine smiles) whilst you tackle 2022 with fervor, confidence and optimism. 

A BIG Thank You from AJS

Despite 2021 being a rollercoaster of emotions, of economic upheaval and competitive business, at AJS we have been fortunate enough to recognise one of the most important factors in our business. And that is you

We are extremely grateful to all of our clients and to all of our readers for your continued business, support and readership. Without you, AJS would not be what it is – there is no us without you. 

So, we say farewell to you (for now) and to 2021 (for good). We wish you all a very Happy, Healthy Festive Season and all the best for the New Year. May 2022 be prosperous, full of good health and of course, only good tidings going forward!

So long 2021!

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